Players have had a reality check says PNE boss

Striker Garner got a fifth yellow card of the season at Brentford
Striker Garner got a fifth yellow card of the season at Brentford
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Simon Grayson gave his Preston North End players both barrels and cancelled their Sunday off in response to a second-half slump against Brentford.

The Lilywhites manager was livid with the manner in which PNE surrendered a 1-0 lead to lose 2-1 at Griffin Park.

Daniel Johnson had 884 travelling fans celebrating as he found the net after just 33 seconds in Saturday’s clash.

That was the platform for a very decent first-half display, but the performance after the interval was in total contrast.

North End lacked spark and any sort of creativity in the second period, Brentford turning the contest in their favour with two goals in a three-minute spell.

Grayson felt that in previous defeats this season, Preston had deserved far more for their efforts.

On this occasion however, he had no complaints with the outcome and felt the showing in the second half led to their downfall.

Said Grayson: “Our display in the second half was lacklustre, Brentford showed a lot more desire and energy than we did.

“They had a willingness to win second balls, track runners and when they had the ball they were brave on it.

“Too many of our players took the easy option when they got on the ball and thought they would just lump it forward to Joe Garner, thinking he or one of the other strikers might do something.

“In the first half I had been pleased with what I saw, we had a purpose with people making good runs – we were nice and lively.

“Maybe for one or two it was a reality check, that this is not Under-21s football or football where you can just stroll through a game.

“The second half was like we had just turned up for a Sunday morning stroll.

“That is no good in this division, the Championship is a demanding league.

“We have lost games over the last few weeks where I have come out and said we did well and hadn’t deserved defeat.

“But in this one, we did not do enough to get the win or something out of the game.

“What epitomised us was that in nine minutes of injury time I don’t think we worked the goalkeeper once.”

Defeat saw Preston slip into the bottom three with eight games played, Saturday’s loss a fourth in five league games.

They could not have had a better start with Johnson’s early goal – the quickest from a PNE player in 16 years.

Grayson is still confident that his squad will find their feet in the second tier.

However, he could yet make moves to try and increase the experience inside the dressing room.

“We would love to have three or four more players who have played at this level, have that little bit more experience,” said Grayson.

“But we have got the players we have got and we believe they are good enough to do it.”

Garner collected a fifth yellow card and will miss Tuesday’s Capital One Cup tie against Bournemouth.